Paul Skenes Is The MUST-SEE Player In College Baseball

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Paul Skenes is the must watch player in college baseball

Paul Skenes Is The MUST-SEE Player In College Baseball

Baseball Is Fun

Major League Baseball’s opening day had plenty of excitement, but the best matchup in baseball Thursday wasn’t on a professional diamond. There was the opening game of a huge series between No. 1 LSU and No. 11 Tennessee. The game featured a highly anticipated pitching matchup. Tennessee sent the top pitching prospect in most drafts, Chase Dollander, to the hill. LSU sent the fast-rising righty Paul Skenes to the bump.

As he’s done all season, Skenes absolutely dominated the competition. Skenes struck out 12 Volunteers over 7 innings allowing five hits and one run. It actually caused his ERA to go up to 0.81. In the first inning, Skenes pumped 10 straight 100+ mph fastballs to Tennessee hitters.

Skenes spent the first two years of his career at Air Force. He had a 12-4 record, 11 saves, and a 2.72 ERA in his time in Colorado Springs. Evaluators liked his talent but wondered how he’d fare against better competition. Under the tutelage of former Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson, Skenes has thrived and then some in Baton Rouge.

Skenes hasn’t allowed more than one run in any of his seven starts in 2023. He struck out at least 11 batters in every outing so far. The SEC is the best conference in the country and in three SEC starts he has a 0.89 ERA with 35 strikeouts against Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Tennessee. 

The rise in strikeouts is eye-popping. In his first year as a starter last year, he struck out 96 batters in 85.2 innings. So far this year he has 83 K’s in 44.1 innings pitched. He also has good command walking only eight batters.

Skenes has a massive frame at 6’6, 235 lbs, and was a two-way player at Air Force so he’s a good athlete. He’s risen up draft boards in recent weeks. FanGraphs has him as the 8th-best prospect in the MLB Draft. The Athletic’s Keith Law ranks him 9th. That was before he dominated one of the best teams in College Baseball on Thursday.

It makes you wonder if Skenes could jump right to the Majors if he ends up on the right team. The last player to bypass the Minors was Garrett Crochet in 2020 with the White Sox, but there was no Minor League Baseball that year. Before that, you have to go back to Mike Leake in 2010 with the Reds. If Skenes continues to dominate the college competition could he help a contending Major League team down the stretch?

Maybe that in and of itself is a stretch, but right now this dude is must-see baseball. They have another big series next week against a top-15 South Carolina team and to the benefit of everyone who shells out a few bucks a month for ESPN+ you can watch all of his starts provided you have an internet connection.

Author: Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.